The Force Awakens in Fandom
By: Meg Humphrey
There are more than enough Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens breakdowns out there, so I don’t really want to talk about that. What I do want to address is about community. Star Wars is a behemoth of a franchise that comes with just as big of a fanbase. There are various levels of hardcore fans, casual fans, and everything in between. Star Wars brings about different feelings and inspirations for everyone, but the fandom still comes together for glorious shared experiences.
Thanks to my goofball co-hosts over at Far Far Away Radio, I participated in a Skype chat room that we lovingly tagged as #UpAllNightToWatchStarWars with some 40+ other obsessed nerds. There we waited through midnight EST and PST in hopes that the trailer would drop for those fans willing to forego sleep. It didn’t, but we had a good time. The chat started up again early the next morning and when the trailer finally hit iTunes just past 7:00am PST, we got to share it with each other. Everyone waited until everyone else in the chat had seen in before saying more specific than an “OMG” or “I’M CRYING.” We swapped theories and feelings as most of us continued to watch the trailer on repeat. It was beautiful and magical and I was so glad to be part of it with fans I don’t really know, but now share something special with.
The crossguard lightsaber, who the person in the forest is, and if the sandy planet we see is Tatooine are just a few things that have been hotly debated. Despite our differences of opinions and speculations, people have been treating each other with respect or at least civility. We appreciate other’s viewpoints and some people even change their mind about their own theories. They’ve also banded together to shoot down certain outrages like people complaining about a black stormtrooper (FYI: clone troopers from the prequels are not stormtroopers. Even if they were, they still wouldn’t be defaultly white as Jengo Fett’s actor is Maori). In all the Star Wars fans I follow on social media, I’ve only had a positive experience. People have been celebrating Boyega, Ridley, and Isaac (the three actors seen for sure) and can’t wait to find out their stories. Everyone is excited, some even to tears, to know what happens to two men of color and a woman. That’s big. The fandom is growing and changing, but I think it’s for the good.
If you’re interested in a breakdown of the trailer, speculation, and some Star Wars talk, check out these episodes of the following Podcasts!
Far Far Away Radio (this is the podcast I’m on, so you should listen to all the episodes)